Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC

Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC


The Northland Regional Council has told the Local Government Commission it can’t support its draft proposal for a major revamp of local government in the region in its current form – and has asked it to do more work, then issue a fresh draft.

Chairman Bill Shepherd says that’s the crux of the formal submission the regional council had yesterday (subs: Tuesday, 18 February) filed with the commission ahead of Friday’s looming (21 February) deadline for comment on the commission’s ‘Draft Proposal for Reorganisation of Local Government in Northland’.

The commission (LGC) ended months of speculation in November last year when it announced its preferred local government model for Northland; a single unitary body supported by community boards which would come into existence late next year.

Councillor Shepherd says the regional council (NRC) does not want to lose the opportunity to build the best possible local government model for Northland, but says if any reform is to occur “it’s far more important to get any reorganisation done right; rather than to get it done fast”.

He says a very tight time-frame set down for the process by the LGC has meant Northlanders haven’t had a lot of time to understand and consider some of the very important implications of any change. The council also feels the commission needs to provide much more information across a range of areas.

Councillor Shepherd says collectively the NRC does agree with the commission that a single Northland-wide voice would be a significant advantage when advocating to central government and other parties and should deliver better plans and more efficient services.

“But of greater concern to us at this point, and at the heart of our opposition to the LGC’s current recommendation, is the commission’s heavy reliance on ‘community boards’. We think much stronger ‘local boards’ with their own powers and budgets are needed and given the law is changing to allow for them in Northland, we think the commission should wait until that change then issue a fresh draft reorganisation proposal.”

In a similar vein, the council felt any final proposal by the LGC should also wait until the law could be changed to allow a wider range of options for Māori representation/decision-making.

He says the council’s full submission covers many areas including its position on debt, claimed costs savings, service delivery, ward boundaries and where any new council should be based and is available on its website via www.nrc.govt.nz/LGreform

Councillors and staff had spent a great deal of time and effort in recent months investigating the pros and cons of the draft proposal and he and his fellow councillors were very grateful to the many Northlanders who had met with them – and shared their own views – on it.

“Since the LGC issued its draft proposal we’ve held public meetings in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Omapere and Russell in the Far North and Kaiwaka in Kaipara late last year. More recently (after the holiday break) we’ve had further meetings in Ruakaka, Tutukaka, Parua Bay and Whangarei. We’ve also taken up invitations to meet with business groups in Kerikeri and Whangarei, with Kaipara ratepayer groups in Dargaville and with the Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP) in Kaitaia. We also recently took part in a panel on reform at Waitangi marae.”

Councillor Shepherd says local democracy is important “and for it to work it needs local communities to engage”.

“We’re delighted that people have taken the time to engage with us and they have helped us shape our views and our formal submission.”

Meanwhile, he says as with the three district councils in Northland, the regional council is continuing to encourage people to make their own submissions to the LGC ahead of its Friday deadline (subs: 21 Feb).

“With that deadline, the ball will be very much back in the Local Government Commission’s court in terms of the next steps in the process and we’ll be keeping a close watch on – and continuing to advocate on the community’s behalf – as the process does continue.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing:
John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider.

The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.

It was hard work but in the end we kept more than 300 skilled and well-paid jobs in New Zealand. And we managed to benefit Air New Zealand and its workforce with productivity gains too... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news